Like many forms of exercise, the effectiveness of your yoga practice can be improved if you have a great playlist. Anyone who has struggled through an intense weight workout or a grueling run knows how the “right” song can give you that extra boost to crush the last rep or sprint the final straight away. Although the right song varies from person to person, pump-up songs are universally effective in generating a high energy tempo in such anthems as Eye of the tiger (Survivor), This Girl is on Fire (Alicia Keys) and Rocky Theme Song (Bill Conti). If you play these songs during your yoga practice however, there is a good chance you will give yourself a heart attack. Creating the perfect yoga playlist requires a little more creative planning in order to reap all the physical and mental benefits that yoga has to offer. 

First things first, having any music at all is totally optional and if you think it may serve as a distraction during your practice, then do away with sound completely (The Buddha was certainly not listening to Bob Marley while meditating under a fig tree). If you’re like the majority of yoga practitioners who utilize music to get yourself into a comfortable headspace, consider the following tips/tricks. 

There have been several recent studies linking the tempo of music with blood pressure and heart rate.

A study published in “Heart” (A British Medical Journal) highlighted how slower tempo music like Inidan Raga, decreased blood pressure and heart rate in the experiments participants while Techno music significantly increased participant’s blood pressure/heart rate in less than two minutes.

With this in mind, it’s probably not the best idea to play Sandstorm (Darude) or Levels (Avicci) during Savasana. The experiments results doesn’t mean you have to purge your playlist of any song that contains a more up-beat tempo. There are certain sequences in a yoga practice such as sun salutations, where songs with a slightly faster tempo can cultivate heat and help warm the body. It all depends on how you structure your playlist in a smooth and sensible sixty minute progression.

Unless you are starting off with sun salutations/ vinyasa flows, it’s recommended to ease into your practice with slower tempo instrumental songs featuring light strings, soft piano, or even a didgeridoo (

Use uptempo songs to increase energy.

After the first five to ten minutes, you can gradually pick up the musical energy with songs like Om (Hippie Sabotage), To Build a Home (The Cinematic Orchestra) and Cherry Wine (Overcoats). Syncing uptempo songs with uptempo movements such as a warrior series, vinyasa flow, and balancing sequences will assist in the building of heat throughout your body so you can get the most out of each asana.

Consider following a demanding vinyasa flow with a slow tempo song such as Here With Me (Susie Suh) to bring awareness back to your breath in child’s pose, pigeon or any other restorative posture.

Choose a peaceful, relaxing song to make your Savasana that much more fulfilling.

As you start to wind down towards the end of your practice, it’s important to play more restorative music with a gradually slower tempo like Can’t Help Falling in Love (Kina Grannis). When you are ready for Savasana, queue up the most peaceful and ethereal song that you have ever heard so you can reach that zen-filled state of mind. Songs such as Any Other Name (Thomas Newman) and Shanti (MC Yogi) may just be the difference in helping you achieve some degree of higher consciousness. 

To get some inspiration before starting your yoga playlist, you can visit “kate_burdick” on spotify to check out the following 4 playlists:

  1. Yoga Class
  2. Yoga Class 2
  3. Yoga Class 3
  4. Yoga 4

Check out the songs listed above and let me know which tracks you’re adding to your perfect yoga playlist. If you need tech help creating a Spotify playlist, check out this link:

~John Burdick, LulaFit Yoga Instructor


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